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Maestro's mission: Introduce classical music to skeptics

Friday - 6/14/2013, 4:14pm  ET

Classical music is an acquired taste, and sometimes you have to grow into it. (Courtesy Jeffrey Silberschlag)

Dana Gooley, special to

WASHINGTON - Chesapeake Orchestra Music Director Jeffrey Silberschlag has performed all over the U.S., Europe, China, Russia, Japan and Israel. And if his international performance schedule doesn't keep him busy enough, he's also the co-director of a music festival in Alba, Italy.

Silberschlag knows orchestra performances are not for everyone, but he's working to change peoples' minds.

"I think people are selling themselves short when they just uniformly say, I don't like classical music,'" Silberschlag says.

Silberschlag offers three tips for those looking to enjoy the orchestra:

  1. It's OK to be a casual listener. "The way we serve-up music these days -- in these giant concert halls -- I think that is contrary to the way people want to socialize. I think these outdoor programs, where people can listen to the music as a casual listener but also talk -- on a date or with friends, I think that actually improves the interest."

  2. It's an acquired taste, and sometimes you have to grow into it. "As you get more mature, your experiences grow. A person can enjoy longer types of music and more complex types of music as they have had more personal experiences to reflect upon."

  3. Start with film scores -- those count. "You know that almost all the movie music comes from classical music. The music of John Williams, where he's using the big symphony, that's one way to enter into classical music is to listen to some of those scores and then come out and see a concert, see music that's related to that."

You can join Silberschlag and the Chesapeake Orchestra for Pops On the Potomac this summer. The first performance is June 15 from 7-9 p.m., and the series continues through August.

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